My dear Theo,
I more or less presume that you have gone to Holland. I am
rather inclined to think that they were expecting you in
Holland, from the letter I received from our sister, and also
because I have not heard from you about this business.
I have had a letter from Gauguin, in which he talks about
painting, and complains of not having enough money to come
here, but nothing new or different.
I have sent Russell 12 drawings after painted studies, and
so had an opportunity to speak to him about it again.
It will soon be Michaelmas, and I have only taken the house
till then. Am I to take it for a half-year again or not, that
is what I would very much like to decide, after G. had seen it,
and not without him.
I could not pay my rent on the first, as I had the model all
week. I am working on two portraits of the same model, which
are more important to me than anything else. But it was just
when I put my fellow off till next Monday for the month's rent
that he said something about being able to find another tenant
for the house if I had not decided to keep it. I'm not much
surprised, since I have had it repaired myself, and it is worth
So now I am working on two figures, one the head, and
one a half length with the hands of an old postman in a dark blue uniform.
He has a head like Socrates, interesting to paint.
There is no better or shorter way of improving your work
than doing figures. And I always feel confident when I am doing
portraits, knowing that this work has much more depth - it
isn't the right word perhaps, but it is what makes me cultivate
whatever is best and deepest in me.
Good-by for the present, and a good handshake.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 3 August 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 517.
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